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QX6700 or x2 Xeon 5310s for rendering?

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February 2, 2007 2:47:42 PM

I am looking at getting a new computer for 3D/video rendering. The two options I am considering are either a QX6700 with 4GB of g.skill 800mhz 4-4-4-(12?) ram or x2 xeon 5310s with 4GB Kingston 667 value ram. Either way to add to that I would get an 8800gts and a pair of 150gb raptors in raid0. From the prices I have found both these options would cost within $50 of each other.

I would like to overclock the CPU if possible taking that into consideration, which would give me the best performance?

I would like to get this system within the next 2 months, so if their is a new CPU just round the corner that will give me better performance I will wait for that.

Also any suggestions on which motherboard to get for either option would be appreciated.
February 2, 2007 7:19:24 PM

Go with the quad... from what i've seen performance is always better when all the cores are on one die, plus you'd be getting better ram.... now I don't know which one overclocks better, but I'd assume the quad.
February 2, 2007 8:03:51 PM

That depends, you see, a Core 2 Quad uses different RAM than the Xeons which would use a 5000X chipset (unless you wanted to go 5000P) and those need FB-DIMMs... which are GREAT for huge amounts of RAM. If you don't need massive amounts than just go with a Core 2 Quad. Also... if you're a gamer you'll find it a little bit better to game on the Quad because of the lower latency RAM.

Hope this helps, if you need anything else just let me or anyone else know.
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February 3, 2007 12:41:51 AM

Thanks for the replies, but maybe I didn’t explain too well, the xeon I am looking at is a quad core xeon, but it comes in at a lower clock speed (1.6ghz) but with two of them that takes it to 3.2ghz which is higher than the QX6700 which is 2.66 (but from what i have seen that can be overclocked to around 3.2ish) which is why I am having difficulty choosing, the lower latency ram would be nice but if the xeons are going to give me a significant increase in speed, like would having 8 cores be faster than 4 at the speed? If the xeons can be over clocked then they would have a higher combined speed. Id be fine going with that, I just cant find any clear compassions between the two.
February 3, 2007 12:43:37 AM

Well, what programs are you using? If you're using something that can take advantage of ALL 8 cores then do it, you wont' regret it.
February 3, 2007 12:51:24 AM

main CPU intensive programs I will be using are 3Ds max, Cinema 4D, Adobe Premiere and Photoshop (Photoshop is the one that need more RAM right?)
February 3, 2007 1:01:17 AM

In that case, go for the xeons, you might even be able to run multiple programs with that config, but you'll need lots of RAM, LOTS I'd say you'd need at least 3gigs, (the xeons can handle up to 16 DIMM slots, on four channels.)
February 3, 2007 1:02:44 AM

with the xeon im planning on getting 4GB of 667, the ram i have found is kingston 667 value ram 1GB (4 of em) is this good ram?

works out to be the same price as good unbuffered ram, i dont want to spend too much on ram
February 3, 2007 1:04:16 AM

Well, I have that exact same RAM, so I'll tell you right now, it's great.
February 3, 2007 1:05:34 AM

thanks for the quick replies, ill probably go the xeon route
February 3, 2007 1:08:01 AM

one thing left of me to find is a good motherboard, possibly with over clocking support, a few things i need are GB lan, IEEE1394 and at least 6 sata ports (pref 8)
February 3, 2007 1:08:18 AM

Well, as far as RAM goes, the Xeons give you way more headroom and plenty of expansion, but remember, the latency may be a bit of a problem if you get to all 16 DIMMs, unless you only have 8.
February 3, 2007 1:09:11 AM

8 or 16 DIMM slots? PCIe graphics or dual PCIe?
February 3, 2007 1:10:02 AM

8 dimms are fine, duel PCIe would be nice
February 3, 2007 1:43:51 AM

a Dual amd system will let you use sli and there is a board on board SAS raid
February 3, 2007 1:45:57 AM

looking at benchmarks the AMDs were way behind the quads in rendering
a c 102 à CPUs
February 3, 2007 2:29:09 AM

The Xeons are the better choice, as you have seen and decided. I've built a workstation or two and I do have a few tidbits that might help you in the build:

1. Make sure that you get a plenty big case. If your board is an ATX board, which it very well might be, DON'T stick it into a standard desktop mid-tower ATX case. Get a full-tower case or a server case with plenty of room to work in. Two CPUs, wiring, and heatsinks really do fill up a case in a hurry.

2. Make sure that your case has good airflow as two CPUs throw off twice as much heat as the equivalent single CPU. I'd recommend something with 2 120mm fans or better. Also, make sure airflow inside the case hits the RAM as those FB-DIMMs run hot and need a little airflow.

3. Make sure to get a EPS12V power supply with the 8-pin +12V connector. A normal ATX12V PSU probably won't have this connector and you do need it. I suggest a PSU 550W or better, especially if you have a substantial GPU or two. The CPUs draw a lot of +12V juice and thus you'll want a PSU that can output a bunch at +12V.

4. Be careful with case fans as most are 3-pin connectors and the Intel fans on the heatsinks are 4-pin. Most boards only like one or the other if they are to throttle the speed up and down- put both kinds and all fans run at 100% all the time and are NOISY.

5. If you have 4GB RAM, you'll want a 64-bit OS to use it all. Otherwise you'll only be able to use ~3.3GB RAM with a 32-bit OS.

Happy building! A nicely done workstation is a wonderful thing to have.
February 3, 2007 3:16:26 AM

I have got a thermaltake armor case, its listed as a full tower, so I think it will be big enough. With the cooling, would it be worth getting a water cooling system or stick with heatsink/fan. one other thing, the cpus are listed as active and passive models, does this have something to do with the way they are cooled?
February 3, 2007 3:27:07 AM

Firstly (I don't know if anyone already mentioned this), you'll need FB-DIMMs for Intel Xeon platforms. These cost a lot and will put a strain on your budget.

Quote:

one other thing, the cpus are listed as active and passive models, does this have something to do with the way they are cooled?


Yes, passive models use a large heatsink on top of the processor, while active models use a smaller HSF combo. I always prefer the active.

Quote:
2. Make sure that your case has good airflow as two CPUs throw off twice as much heat as the equivalent single CPU. I'd recommend something with 2 120mm fans or better. Also, make sure airflow inside the case hits the RAM as those FB-DIMMs run hot and need a little airflow.


Isn't there an airduct you can put into your case to guide air over the FBDIMMs and out of the case? It may only apply to server chassis...
February 3, 2007 3:41:59 AM

The Kingston RAM I am looking at is Fully Buffered
February 3, 2007 3:42:52 AM

That board didn't have SLI, it had dual PCI-e x16 slots, but you won't be able to use SLI. Now... don't skimp on a PSU.

Water-cooling? That wouldn't be a bad idea. I mean I don't see why you'd need it but if you wanted to then go right ahead, I've nothing against it.

EDIT: Also, about that mobo, I don't see anything wrong with an ASUS board, I just made a suggestion about a brand that I'm somewhat familiar with. Now, have you looked at anything from Supermicro or Tyan? Both of them have a pretty good selection. I happen to have a Tempest i5000PW (very nice board IMO).
February 3, 2007 3:49:11 AM

Ok so no SLI on that, so the iwill would be a better board?

I'm in australia does anyone know of a good place to get xeon boards in aus?


I will look at the other brands now, anything that I need to make sure the board has to support 5300s? ie best chipset
February 3, 2007 4:12:25 AM

these are the board i like the look of:

ASUS DSGC-DW
IWILL DPK66
Supermicro X7DAL-E
Tyan Tempest i5000XT or i5000PX
February 3, 2007 4:30:45 AM

Definately get the Quad, 4 cores render like lightspeed.
February 3, 2007 12:41:29 PM

Water cooling systems? I know that Koolance makes adapters for LGA771 sockets. All you need then is the rest and you're good to go.

Power consumption, here's a nice link to a calculator.

http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp

I did most of the work for you and it says that you'll need at least 549 watts with those CPUs at 100% and an 8800GTX, I know you're using a GTS but there isn't one on the list so I went with something a little more powerful to give you some legroom. That also includes 8 SATA drives and 2 DVD drives. If there's anything else you were thinking about adding on just go to the link and see what you can come up with.

Again, happy building!
a c 102 à CPUs
February 3, 2007 12:54:12 PM

The Armor is plenty big. The passively-cooled heatsinks are for the "pizza box" rackmounts with ducted air flow and high-RPM, high-CFM fans. You want the "active" heatsinks as those are the normal heatsink with a fan on top models. The active HSs are HUGE (1120 g each!) and should do a good job cooling an 80W TDP chip- they keep a dual Prescott-based Xeon unit I made cool and those CPUs throw off a lot more than 80W.
February 3, 2007 1:54:17 PM

Quote:
The Xeons are the better choice, as you have seen and decided. I've built a workstation or two and I do have a few tidbits that might help you in the build:


2. Make sure that your case has good airflow as two CPUs throw off twice as much heat as the equivalent single CPU. I'd recommend something with 2 120mm fans or better. Also, make sure airflow inside the case hits the RAM as those FB-DIMMs run hot and need a little airflow.

The Intel boards have only have the pci-e lanes for one x16 pci-e card and few left over amd boards have the lanes for 2 full x16 slots and room 2 x8 slots and 2 x4 lanes that are being used by on board chips also they use cheaper and faster DDR2 ECC
a c 102 à CPUs
February 3, 2007 2:00:18 PM

The entire Opteron platform is much better than Intel's Xeon DP platform, that's obvious. FB-DIMMs, FSBs, not a whole lot of PCIe lanes...yeah, the 5000 series chipsets aren't so hot for workstations. But the OP wanted a fast rendering machine and it would take a quad Opteron 8212 rig to beat a pair of Xeon 5310s. Once AMD releases its "Barcelona" quad-core Opterons, it might be a different recommendation that I'd give the OP, but he said that he'd build the machine within 2 months and the Barcelonas are probably 6 months away from being available in quantity for anything near MSRP.
February 3, 2007 2:06:57 PM

How true, the Opty platform does have better features and what not, but it's the performance that counts. When you think about it though, have they been able to get a GPU to use even the bandwidth of a PCIe x8 slot yet? I've read reviews where the 8800GTX fell like 1-3% in a PCIe x8 slot as compared to a PCIe x16 slot, but that ended up being driver issues on the part of the mobo so I don't think he'll be bottlenecked anywhere.
February 3, 2007 2:45:15 PM

Quote:
How true, the Opty platform does have better features and what not, but it's the performance that counts. When you think about it though, have they been able to get a GPU to use even the bandwidth of a PCIe x8 slot yet? I've read reviews where the 8800GTX fell like 1-3% in a PCIe x8 slot as compared to a PCIe x16 slot, but that ended up being driver issues on the part of the mobo so I don't think he'll be bottlenecked anywhere.

The x2 cards need x16 slots as well as this http://www.nvidia.com/page/quadroplex.html also on intel some pci-e lanes are used for chip to chip link in the 5000 series chip sets.
February 3, 2007 3:27:55 PM

The x2 cards? Are you talking like the 7950GX2? I'm a little confused. I meant as far as the signals. All PCI-e x16 cards only need the slot to be a physical x16 slot, the signal can be x1, x4, x8 or x16. As for the QuadroPlex, I don't think the OP is going to be getting one of those. As he said, just an 8800GTS.

EDIT: Or were you talking about the Quadro FX 4500 X2? That still only requires a physical x16 slot though I'm sure an x16 connection would be a benefit from a card with that kind of power.
February 3, 2007 3:37:16 PM

Australian? Same here.

nintek.com.au seem pretty good for Xeon capable boards, and if they don't stock it, you ccan request it using the wishlist feature.
February 3, 2007 4:52:03 PM

For what your stated use SLI will have no benefit.

8 cores under even XP 64 isn't going to efficient at all you'll need server 2003 or vista ultimate 64, good luck with driver support.

With the QX6700 you could OC quite a bit and afford 8Ghz of ram. The OS choices will be key to getting the most out of the setup. Once all the driver support is there Vista 64 should be the clear choice, but who know how long that will take.

In Vista 64 with the 3dMax 64 is all but unable so you'll want stick with XP or 2003 or use an AMD card. I do all my modeling in XP and render in Vista, its slightly faster
February 3, 2007 6:16:42 PM

Well, you see XP Pro x64 WILL be able to use 8 cores, as to how well the driver support is, that's a different question. The only thing he needs to worry about is the socket support which is fine since he only has 2 Sockets, and XP Pro x64 has support for... you guessed it, 2 sockets.

@OP, I'd recommend to get Vista, but check on driver support first, that is a MUST.
a c 102 à CPUs
February 3, 2007 10:20:46 PM

Quote:
Australian? Same here.

nintek.com.au seem pretty good for Xeon capable boards, and if they don't stock it, you ccan request it using the wishlist feature.


Nope, I'm American, not Australian.
February 4, 2007 12:11:42 AM

wow thanks for all the input everyone, I think I am ready to make a buying decision, I'll post the final specs with price once I have them.
February 4, 2007 6:10:36 AM

here is my initial list

I have included all the hardware for the whole rig, though some of the things i already own and the prices next to them are the price i got it at the time (some things are a bit cheaper now) all prices are in Australian Dollars


To Buy List

Intel Xeon 5310 x2
$1,026
Tyan Tempest i5000XT
$798
Kingston ValueRAM 1GB 667MHz ECC FB-DIMM x4
$832
XFX 8800GTS PV-T80G-THF9
$670
Promise SATA300 TX4
$139
Thermaltake ToughPower 750W Modular
$230
Thermaltake BigWater SE
$150
Thermaltake Copper Memory Heat Spreader x4
$68
Western Digital Raptor 150GB x2
$670

$4,583 SUB TOTAL


Already Have List

Thermaltake Armor Full Tower Black /w Window
$230
Wester Digital Caviar SE16 320GB x4
$540
Wester Digital Caviar SE 250GB x2
$500
E-MU 0202 USB
$203
Wharfedale 8.1pro Active Monitors (pair)
$330
Sennheiser HD280pro Headphones
$300
ASUS PW191A
$400
Logitech diNovo Bluetooth Media Desktop
$300
Pioneer DVR-111D
$45
Generic Floopy Drive
$5

$2,853.00 SUB TOTAL


$7,436.00 TOTAL


the raptors will be in raid0 the rest will not be raided
February 4, 2007 6:28:45 AM

Quote:
Australian? Same here.

nintek.com.au seem pretty good for Xeon capable boards, and if they don't stock it, you ccan request it using the wishlist feature.


Nope, I'm American, not Australian.

I was talking to the TC. XD

I think he said he was Australian.
a c 102 à CPUs
February 4, 2007 12:37:10 PM

Sorry.
February 4, 2007 12:50:21 PM

Quote:
here is my initial list

I have included all the hardware for the whole rig, though some of the things i already own and the prices next to them are the price i got it at the time (some things are a bit cheaper now) all prices are in Australian Dollars


To Buy List

Intel Xeon 5310 x4
$1,026
Tyan Tempest i5000XT
$798
Kingston ValueRAM 1GB 667MHz ECC FB-DIMM x4
$832
XFX 8800GTS PV-T80G-THF9
$670
Promise SATA300 TX4
$139
Thermaltake ToughPower 750W Modular
$230
Thermaltake BigWater SE
$150
Thermaltake Copper Memory Heat Spreader x4
$68
Western Digital Raptor 150GB x2
$670

$4,583 SUB TOTAL


Already Have List

Thermaltake Armor Full Tower Black /w Window
$230
Wester Digital Caviar SE16 320GB x4
$540
Wester Digital Caviar SE 250GB x2
$500
E-MU 0202 USB
$203
Wharfedale 8.1pro Active Monitors (pair)
$330
Sennheiser HD280pro Headphones
$300
ASUS PW191A
$400
Logitech diNovo Bluetooth Media Desktop
$300
Pioneer DVR-111D
$45
Generic Floopy Drive
$5

$2,853.00 SUB TOTAL


$7,436.00 TOTAL


the raptors will be in raid0 the rest will not be raided



Why would you be using 4 xeons? I take it you mean 2 5310s? Other than that it looks great. Really nice if I do say so myself. Now, any idea of an OS?
a c 102 à CPUs
February 4, 2007 12:58:25 PM

With 4GB RAM, he'd want a 64-bit OS. I'd naturally suggest 64-bit Linux or one of the BSDs over Windows XP x86_84 or 64-bit Vista. Everything on the board and all of his peripherals should work well under 64-bit Linux- that's probably not true at the moment with any 64-bit Windows incarnation, although I'm sure 64-bit Vista will evenutally support the board, GPUs, etc. Vista will also be slower than Linux, but his choice of hardware suggests serious gaming in combination with doing other work, so I guess he'd want Windows. Truthfully, if it were me, I'd dual-boot between Windows XP 32-bit and a 64-bit Linux. XP32 for gaming and Linux for real work. Vista gaming stinks at the moment compared to XP32 and Cedega on Linux to run Windows games is probably about the same. However, one can render and transcode video just fine on Linux and the ability to use 4GB RAM and a 64-bit OS with good scheduling capabilities will speed that up nicely over XP 32-bit. Eventually 64-bit Vista would become usable for gaming and then he could migrate over to that if he wishes to, but I've used the betas and RCs of Vista and am VERY reluctant to recommend it to anybody for any reason.
February 4, 2007 2:10:05 PM

Yeah, I was gonna say he'd probably want something like Vista x64 or XP Pro x64. Maybe even SuSe or Core 6 linux.

Dual-boot? How about VM?
a c 102 à CPUs
February 4, 2007 2:30:22 PM

VMs are nice, but there are limitations to using VMs. You can't play any games that need 3D hardware acceleration inside of a VM. You can run a 64-bit guest OS inside of a 32-bit host OS if your CPU is 64-bit, or at least you can in newer versions of VMware. BUT if your 32-bit host OS only sees 3.x GB RAM you can only address up to 3.x GB in your 64-bit guest OS. Running something in a VM also ranges from being somewhat slower to a lot slower than running it on bare metal. That being said, I use VMware and really like it. It's just not the answer for every situation, which is why I do have a dual-boot set up.

SUSE Linux is very good, as is Fedora Core 6. So is Ubuntu. I'd probably suggest Ubuntu or Kubuntu over SUSE or FC6 as it just seems a little faster and easier to work with. I personally use Gentoo, but that's not an OS for those who are new to Linux and to tell the truth, it's not really any faster than (K)Ubuntu.
February 4, 2007 11:23:04 PM

Can I use appications like 3dmax and photoshop etc in linux? or is it just capable of rendering the scene without the interface

and yes i ment x2 xeons
a c 102 à CPUs
February 5, 2007 1:58:32 AM

3dsmax and Photoshop aren't Linux applications, but you can get similar functionality out of Blender and The GIMP, which do run on Linux (and Windows as well.) You can certainly render scenes without a GUI if you wish if you want to as things like Pov-Ray do this.
February 5, 2007 2:33:59 AM

Quote:
here is my initial list

I have included all the hardware for the whole rig, though some of the things i already own and the prices next to them are the price i got it at the time (some things are a bit cheaper now) all prices are in Australian Dollars


To Buy List

Intel Xeon 5310 x4
$1,026
Tyan Tempest i5000XT
$798
Kingston ValueRAM 1GB 667MHz ECC FB-DIMM x4
$832
XFX 8800GTS PV-T80G-THF9
$670
Promise SATA300 TX4
$139
Thermaltake ToughPower 750W Modular
$230
Thermaltake BigWater SE
$150
Thermaltake Copper Memory Heat Spreader x4
$68
Western Digital Raptor 150GB x2
$670

$4,583 SUB TOTAL


Already Have List

Thermaltake Armor Full Tower Black /w Window
$230
Wester Digital Caviar SE16 320GB x4
$540
Wester Digital Caviar SE 250GB x2
$500
E-MU 0202 USB
$203
Wharfedale 8.1pro Active Monitors (pair)
$330
Sennheiser HD280pro Headphones
$300
ASUS PW191A
$400
Logitech diNovo Bluetooth Media Desktop
$300
Pioneer DVR-111D
$45
Generic Floopy Drive
$5

$2,853.00 SUB TOTAL


$7,436.00 TOTAL


the raptors will be in raid0 the rest will not be raided



Why would you be using 4 xeons? I take it you mean 2 5310s? Other than that it looks great. Really nice if I do say so myself. Now, any idea of an OS?
For one thing you do not want to use a pci sata card pci-e or pci-x is better.
and you can get dual cpu amd board with HARDWARE SAS raid and SLI with 2 full x16 slots for $300 less and it uses cheaper ddr2 ecc ram.
!